Monday, January 26, 2015

When Life Gets Backed Up

In the wee hours of this morning I was blissfully dreaming of colorful spring flowers cascading down the edge of the outside cement stairs and spilling out like a waterfall into the garden bed. It may have been the association with water that woke me up for that inevitable middle-of-the-night trip to the potty. Half asleep I took care of business and hit the handle only to discover that the pump never shut off, the water was not going down with its regular speed, I hadn't put on my glasses so the entire episode was fuzzy, and oh, by the way, it was 3:43 A.M. I pulled the plug on the pump (my bathroom hookup is very strange and requires a knowledgeable adult about these things, which I am not, except that my Dad always told me if something wasn't working, pull the plug, so I did), and went back to bed. I was sure that I would hear the landlord, who lives above me, moving around as he got ready to go to work and I could inform him of the situation before he left. Imagine my surprise when I awoke again much later to discover that I had overslept (that's what I get for staying up past my bedtime to watch the Pro Bowl) and he had already left for work. My options were to have a hissy fit  and let this episode "back up" my whole day - a little potty humor here - or I could "go with the flow" - more potty humor - and be creative until he got home.

How many times in our life do we let something that is totally out of our control get the best of us and back up our whole day? You know, the traffic jam that makes you late, the snow storm that shuts everything down, the power outage that turns your half-baked birthday cake into a half-raw pancake, and the birthday dinner becomes a PB&J with a candle in it? Like my backed-up potty we can either let it ruin our day, or challenge ourselves to be creative and find another answer to the challenge. It all begins with taking a nice, deep breath and reminding ourselves that we are not responsible for these acts of nature  (traffic jams are human made but that's another story for another time). All we are responsible for is how we react to the situation and whether we blow it way out of proportion or try and find some humor in it.

In my situation, I decided to pretend that I was back on a camping trip I'd taken with my sister years ago where the campsite was very primitive and we had to make due with what nature offered us. As I recall, we survived the ordeal and it didn't take anything away from enjoying our beautiful surroundings. As I write this I am toughing it out, flushing with a bucket, and watching the approach of an impending snow storm blowing up the valley. Guess I'd better fill some buckets up with snow to melt for water just in case my landlord gets stuck in a traffic jam, in the snow storm, with a power outage, and can't get home for a while. While I'm out there, I think I'm make a snow angel!

And so it is.